March 30, 2009

"A digital war has broken out, and the conservative movement is losing."

Says Andrew Breitbart:
Read the comment sections of right-leaning blogs, news sites and social forums, and the evidence is there in ugly abundance. Internet hooligans are spewing their talking points to thwart the dissent of the newly-out-of-power.
Huh? You mean there is a debate, with some people arguing for the other side?


TMink said...

A debate assumes logic and honesty. The point of the article is that the left is infested with folks who use neither. Those people are not concerned with honesty, they are concerned with progress and willing to achieve their ends by any rhetorical means necessary.

Not that there are not some folks on the right who have a similar lack of morals. There are just more on the left.

And this tactic leaves the left's views unassailable by important things like logic and the truth. And that is bad for America. It is bad when the right or the left lies.

Given our backgrounds and world views, the left is currently much more comfortable and willing to engage in lies and fraud.

That is the point of the article as I read it.


Charity said...

I thought he was talking about people pretending to be GOPers or other conservatives and saying they disagreed with what the right was saying/doing as a way to demoralize the right and make us think we are losing ranks, not just people arguing the other side.

Jason (the commenter) said...

I'm always surprised at the large number of conservative commenters I see, even on left-leaning blogs like Towleroad (which supports the gay establishment). Breitbart seems to be talking about liberal trolls. Who cares about them? Anyone who comments knows to ignore trolls liberal or conservative. Breitbart is just feeding them, and that's idiotic.

MadisonMan said...

It's only the debaters on the right who are virtuous and above-board. Everybody knows that.

Seven Machos said...

Come on, people. Don't you find it strange that the true leftist windbags with absolutely nothing of any value to offer don't come around any more?

(I realize that Althouse could have done something clever to shoo them away, but I am assuming not.)

ElcubanitoKC said...

I want to know how this is different than say, six months ago. The AlphaLiberal/Michaels, the Mobies, the C4 and so on of these world have been around for as long as those sites have been up. They are more visible because they have more time to waste. School ends a lot earlier than most work days.

ElcubanitoKC said...

MadisonMan, there are douchebags on each side, but the douchebaggery proportion is what makes the difference.

joewxman said...

"And this tactic leaves the left's views unassailable by important things like logic and the truth. And that is bad for America. It is bad when the right or the left lies."

It might be bad for America short term but elections do have a way of even-ing things out. Otherwise 1994 would have never happened. Of course that was in the day before blogs.

I find that among the left leaning blogs i read; those posting tend to want to douse with gasoline and set fire to anyone who disagrees with them. If they are moving in gangs invading right wing web sounds like the sort of thing children do. The left tends to skew younger than the right. People on the right in general act more like adults when engaging in conversation and debate.

And i guarantee you if you post this observation on a left leaning blog..the posters will douse you with gasoline and set you on fire.

Seven Machos said...

I see a world of difference between Alpha, whom I would never accuse of trolling, and that annoying twat Michael.

MadisonMan said...

I will argue that Cedarford's gasbaggery is on the right side of the aisle.

I might be wrong; I never read what he has to say :)

Seven Machos said...

Cedarford is on the American right in the same sense that Adolph Hitler is. Which is to say that he is not.

In Cedarford's defense, by the way, he almost always piles all his Jew hating and goofy shit into a small novella, making himself easy to avoid. That's very respectable.

ElcubanitoKC said...

MadisonMan, I would too if it wasn't for the fact that he loves Obama and government intervention...The fact that he's a racist anti-semitic worm doesn't make him any less leftist.

ElcubanitoKC said...

Seven, the difference between Michael and AlphaLiberal is only medication.

downtownlad said...

I read the article this morning. Horrendous writing, and atrocious logic. Is this what counts for intellectualism amongst the right these days?

Beth said...

It's only the debaters on the right who are virtuous and above-board. Everybody knows that.

Now be fair, Madman. Even the conservative commenters here concede that there are perhaps five conservative trolls out there, lacking the unassailable logic and good manners of every single other conservative commenter on the internets.

Balfegor said...

Internet hooligans are spewing their talking points to thwart the dissent of the newly-out-of-power.

I don't understand this sentence.

ElcubanitoKC said...

Just for the record, Alex does not count as an example from "the right". He's a Moby, and everyone knows that.

madawaskan said...

The American right is in a heap of trouble in a media age that doesn't shun the goons and liars that have poisoned the political process and won the American presidency by breaking the rules of fair play. It is time to fight back, but it won't be easy. The enemy is willing to do and say anything in order to win.

This guy thinks he is talking about commenters when in reality he should be talking about the media here.

Commenters on the internet especially are not competition for the millions tuned into network and to a lesser extent cable television.

The whole damn thing is over because the Founding Fathers never envisioned that one party would dominate a medium that would be on 24/7 in the American public's living room.

Lem said...

The other side’s argues louder, not better.

john said...

All I have to say is, as a Lifelong Republican, from New Hampshire, who because of my unique status gets interviewed every 4 years by NPR on why I won't be voting for Bush/Cheney in 2008, and fully expect that 4 years from now those good people will come up from NYC and interview me on why my strong New England conservative principles will, again, not permit me to vote for Bush/Cheney in 2012, that we certainly don't need someone's bringing up a "digital war" explanation of why dyed in the wool Republicans up here always vote our conscience and don't ever vote Republican.

Bissage said...

I find it disheartening that the esteemed, influential and oh-so-serious Mr. Breitbart could offer no words of encouragement to the card-carrying members of the random spew.

Perhaps that will come after his digital war has been won, assuming of course, we haven't all been annihilated as collateral damage.


Henry said...

Right wing dissent in the "comment sections of right-leaning blogs, news sites and social forums" is self-thwarting.

Big Mike said...

Trey gets it, and Charity is too charitible.

But as long as Michael and Alpha and Jeremy and Madman and downtownlad, when he's stuck sleeping alone, comment here it gives the rest of us an opportunity to develop and refine counter-strategies. The 2010 elections are just 20 months away.

ElcubanitoKC said...

In all honesty, Big Mike, I rather enjoy MadisonMan's sarcasm most of the time. One should see the difference, and sarcasm is not the same as douchebaggery.

MnMark said...

MadisonMan and Beth seem to be suggesting that the Left is no more inclined to the kind of dishonest stuff the article talks about than the Right is. But I don't think this is really debatable.

Do you disagree that the Left skews younger? Do you disagree that young people are more likely to behave poorly than older people?

During the Republican convention in St. Paul last year, there were left-wing protest groups in abundance, some breaking windows and one dropping a rock through the windshield of a bus of Republican supporters. You hear about this sort of thing often when there are big symbolic conservative or business gatherings - like the usual protests/riots at G20 meetings or what have you.

But can you recall the last time that stone-throwing Republicans protested a Democratic convention? Or broke windows at some kind of left-wing meeting? I can't.

So why would it be hard to believe that the Left is more inclined to engage in sabotage of the Right's discussions than vice versa? I don't think it's even a controversial point, and MadisonMan and Beth and other left-wing commenters ought to have the honesty to acknowledge that that is simply a part of being on the Left - people on the Left are burdened with more juvenile, amoral activists than the Right is.

garage mahal said...

Having identified the "enemy" and declaring "war" [and the need for foot soldiers], I guess we we'll have to wait to hear who the general is and what ideas will be in the war plan.

ElcubanitoKC said...

garage, that is what this WH and its minions have done with certain talk radio host...

Cedarford said...

Only in the Neocon World is dislike of liberal Jews and the damage they have done to America considered Leftist.
And the Neocon World is now kaput.

MadisonMan said...

MnMark (are you from Iowa?): Please read my comments more carefully before constructing a Straw Man out of them. Thank You.

Joan said...

I would never lump MadisonMan in with Alpha and Michael. And does anyone read Cedarford? He has been instrumental in training me how to not read everything I'm scrolling past.

Breitbart's too hysterical for this early in the morning. If he has a legitimate point it got lost in the hyperbole.

hdhouse said...

ahhh right away we get this idiocy:

" TMink said...
A debate assumes logic and honesty. ..the left is infested with folks who use neither. "

And of course you have proof of this assertion or is it just your humble opinionated opinion.

"There are just more on the left."

Did you count them?

"And this tactic leaves the left's views unassailable by important things like logic and the truth."

What in the world are you talking about?

"the left is currently much more comfortable and willing to engage in lies and fraud."

Enter Bush and Cheney and Rush and Sean and Gordon and Michael and Scooter and and and and....

Hey TMINK ....who ya gonna believe? the Truth or them lyin' eyes?


ElcubanitoKC said...

hdhouse, I offer yourself as an example. Do we need any more?

MadisonMan said...

And does anyone read Cedarford?

Ezra Klein!

Peter V. Bella said...

Hey house did you change your name. You used to sign of as putz, now you sign off as ya'betcha!

Is that some Star Wars Character?

David said...

(I realize that Althouse could have done something clever to shoo them away, but I am assuming not.)

Actually, she did. She let them say anything they wanted without personal reply or censorship. She let commenters figure out that they should by an large ignore the repetitive bullshit. The trolls, deprived of Pavlovian contrary responses, diminished their bullroar.

Now what I really want to know is: where the hell is Titus? Was he a fake all along? Does this have to do with the Meade thing in some way?

Richard Dolan said...

The next sentence in Breitbart's piece, after the quote to which Ann directs attention, is: "We must not let that go unanswered."

He's urging the troops to engage with the opposition, and in part to imitate them. Whether you agree with his description of lefty-righty manners in the blogosphere, he's not complaining that "there is a debate, with some people arguing for the other side." He thinks the other side is dominating the debate, and wants his team to do better.

Pretty tame stuff, really, with all the punch of a little league coach's rally-the-team pitch.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

And does anyone read Cedarford?

"Ezra Klein!"

LOL MM: good one.

Trooper York said...

Madison Man and Beth are among the best commenters that I have read here on Althouse. I always look forward to what they have to say even if I often disagree. And garage mahal is one of the few liberals around here with a great sense of humor. You can always have a lot of fun batting stuff around with them and can even learn something if you engage them in conversation. I am proud to share a commnet section with them.

Hd house on the other hand. Well.
Gay k'ken in yam, you Trichen ah furtz.

MadisonMan said...

Trooper, I'm hurt. How can you disagree with me? I'm so sensible!

Here's what I think about earmarks, for example. All the money that is earmarked in any bill should be pooled. That pooled money should then be divided among the states, weighted by population somehow, but not too much. (I don't want CA to get all the money, but OTOH, a lot of people do live there) The money should go directly to the State Legislatures who will decide how to spend it. The Congresscritters in DC thus will have no say.

How can anyone say that's not a sensible way to do things? See how sensible I am?

Freder Frederson said...

Apparently Breitbart never watches Fox News or has never heard of Ann Coulter (with books titled "Godless", "Treason" and "Slander"). Otherwise how could he claim with the least shred of credibility "[t]he right, for the most part, embraces basic Judeo-Christian ideals and would not promote nor defend the propaganda techniques that were perfected in godless communist and socialist regimes".

Of course his column is appearing in a paper owned and operated by the Unification Church, which of course knows nothing about propaganda techniques.

Trooper York said...

Hey anybody who is a Green Packers fan and thought that Brett Farve the hd house of the NFL had anything left definitely has his head up his ass. Don't kidd a kidder Madison Man. Just sayn'

Trooper York said...

That's kid a kidder. A kidd should be excusively on Mickey Krause
E Harmony posts.

jdeeripper said...

When lovable nerds Gilbert and Lewis embark on their freshman year at Adams College, little do they realize the perils that await them.

They're beset with taunting by the jocks of Alpha Beta fraternity, which only worsens when the jocks accidentally burn down their house and are forced toss the freshmen out of the freshmen dorm.

To make matters more problematic, Lewis develops a crush on pretty Betty Childs, popular sorority sister and quarterback's girlfriend.

Joined by the aptly named Booger and the violin-playing Pointdexter, the nerds soon realize they must form their own fraternity in self-defense.

Soon the tables are turned as the nerds employ high-tech warfare against the jocks.... but can they really win and make a difference?

Revenant said...

I think Andrew's being a bit histrionic. The "hooligans" can't actually prevent anyone from speaking. They make it harder to have an intelligent discussion, but not impossible.

Big Mike said...

MadMan, there are a lot of people defending you, but FYI I'm not swayed. You're still the enemy, and the Left has spent a decade convincing me that they cannot (not just "will not") deal fairly on any issue. You cannot be compromised or negotiated with. You can only be surpressed.

It's really sad, because I remember when both sides agreed on the problems -- and some have been fixed but many still exist -- and could negotiate on how best to fix them. Now the only point of contention seems to be are "progressives" in power or not. You do not and will not see "progressives" addressing the problem of inner city schools, much less low-quality schools in Appalachia or other low income areas of the US, nor is there a month's worth of difference between McCain's end game for Iraq and Obama's.

@MnMark, I don't think I fully agree. The harridans of Code Pink don't look very young to me. I think there are way too many children of the 1960's who never grew up; they just wait around to see what's the next thing they can protest.

yashu said...

Haven't read the article, but as others here point out, the vexing issue isn't so much trolls (a la Michael) but Mobys ("concerned conservatives," "lifelong Republicans", etc.)-- IMO it's clear that the overwhelming majority of these come from the left. After all, the term is named after (liberal) musician Moby himself, who on his blog advocated using this tactic. And I quote:

[On convincing people not to vote for George W. Bush in 2004] “For example, you can go on all the pro-life chat rooms and say you’re an outraged right-wing voter and that you know that George Bush drove an ex-girlfriend to an abortion clinic and paid for her to get an abortion. Then you go to an anti-immigration website chat room and ask, ‘What’s all this about George Bush proposing amnesty for illegal aliens?’”

That speaks for itself. (He advocates this with no shame whatsoever. I guess I'm still naive enough to be shocked by it.) Put aside mobying as performance art or satire or individual trolling (which can just as well come from left or right)-- what's repellent is the mobying en masse, hordes of them, which we saw as organized *campaign strategy* (or maybe still see, insofar as the Obama campaign is perpetual): it's not for nothing that Axelrod is known as the "Master of Astroturfing" (see Ace post on this here).

This is a real bĂȘte noire for me, as some of you may have noticed (so much so that sometimes I may see it when it isn't there). In my view, this isn't a matter of "debate" or "arguing the other side", but setting out to muddy, pollute, clog sites of exchange & ideological battle... with nothing less than discursive *fraud*. I consider those engaging in these tactics really the lowest form of life, scum, of the blogosphere. And (as the Moby quote shows) it's not just wearing a false mask to spout talking-points, but using it to spread disinformation, lies, slander. (E.g., some of the most defamatory stuff about Palin was disseminated by mobys, so that it would appear more credible. And there was a rash of "racist" Mobys too, conveniently timed with that Axelrod/ MSM talking-point-- cf. the cluster of articles about racists at McCain/Palin rallies.)

This is related to the prevalent left-wing style of ad hominem attack, or ad hominem characterization, personalization, of right-wing ideas-- cf. the administration's campaign against Rush Limbaugh, or what we saw in that pathetic Journolist extract (so obsessed with Savage-- I've personally never encountered any conservative or Republican, on-line or off, who takes him seriously or even mentions him, but for the JournoListas et al he conveniently serves as an icon of, short-hand for, the "GOP/ conservatives"). They thereby avoid tackling, engaging with, conservative arguments & ideas themselves-- but merely point in outrage at their "mouthpiece" (e.g. monstrous racist hateful fat drug-addict traitor Limbaugh, and those like him).

To me this shows that too many of those on the left have no faith in the power of their own ideas, arguments, facts to persuade-- whether this means no faith in the power of ideas/facts, or no faith in the cognitive capacity of those to be persuaded (e.g: Americans are so stupid, after all they voted for Bush, so the only way to persuade them-- manipulate them--is to lie to them). It sometimes seems--as I feel, more & more, listening to the sonorous cadences of Obama (BS BS BS)-- that too much of the left has given up entirely any commitment to "truth", "honesty", "integrity", given themselves over entirely to sophistry & propaganda, indeed any means whatever, for the sake of power-- and power for the sake of? I suppose many on the left still feel, at the end of the day, they're acting for the sake of a larger "good"-- that they know best what that is & are justified in employing any means whatever to impose it on the rest of us. For our own good. Shudder.

NB The answer is *not* to adopt the worst tactics of the left. First of all, of course, it's just ethically despicable. (And this kind of organized astro-turfing, bots dispatched by Kos or MoveOn or Obama.borg, is just not in the right's style. Good thing, too.) But purely pragmatically, it would be useless & counter-productive. For one thing, this stuff only works for the left, & they only get away with it, because of their ideological alliance & frequent collusion with the bulk of the MSM. For another, in my (biased) opinion, the right is strongest precisely on the well-lit terrain of facts & ideas & argumentation (what a long-ago McCain used to call "straight talk"); there's no need (& yields nothing) to resort to disinformation, discursive fraud, ad hominem deflection/ distraction from the issues. (In any case, b/c of the MSM, any of these tactics would just bite the right on the ass.) There's nothing to do, but-- speak out more, state our case, air our views, make our arguments, and continually unmask the fallacies, BS, lies, hypocrisy coming from the left. Online & off. I do have faith in (a good portion of) the American people's capacity to suss out bullshit, sooner or later. Cf. Post-election Obama's dramatic, rapid unmasking-- in progress. (His armies of Obamaton mobys-- most of them, thankfully, now MIA--are of little help to him now.)

Bruce Hayden said...

I think Breitbart overplays this. Yes, there are plenty of leftist trolls whose favorite modus operandi is character assassination (AKA "ad hominem"). You can see this most vividly, whenever Rush comes up, and they include his weight and/or (usually and) his problem with pain medicines (termed "drug addict" by many there). But after awhile, the main posters on sites like this just start tuning that sort of thing out. Somewhat related is what happens every time Gov. Palin comes up.

I have always wondered what they would think if President Obama were routinely associated with his former pot and cocaine usage, etc., Biden with his vague connection to reality, Dodd with his fund raising, Feinstein with her husband's defense contracts, Reid with the bridge to his family's land, Krugman with his stint working for Enron, Frank with the male brothel run out of his offices, and Hillary with a paragraph of scandals all her own. Yet, no one does, because those on the right are mostly civil, and that doesn't help the debate.

Another thing that we see here is the liberal poster who goes off on an almost totally unrelated tangent, for example, mentioning Palin's unwed daughter when she wasn't the subject of the original post. We all know who is guilty of that here.

Finally, you have the posts parroting liberal talking points, most of which are so selective that they bear almost no relationship to the topic at hand. Of course, I usually heard them the night before from Alan Colmes, when he was still on with Hannity.

But responding in kind does no good. Sure, some discussions are swamped out this way, but many are not, as evidenced by a mostly civil discussion here. And few above the age of 30 are going to be swayed by that sort of arguing. Rather, a lot of people are turned off by it. And those who are most likely to be swayed by it, are already getting their news from the Daily Show.

rcocean said...

What a great post "Yashu". Whats so hard to understand. There's a big difference between an intellectual honest desire to debate and the desire to propagandize, disrupt, and destroy.

Conservatives seem unable (unwilling?) to understand most lefties take politics very seriously. They're not interested in "debate" or being "nice" or "being a Good Christian" or heaven help us "being a Gentlemen" - they want to win. "Just Win Baby" is their motto.

They've been successful for 40 years and they aren't going to stop.

Bruce Hayden said...

"To me this shows that too many of those on the left have no faith in the power of their own ideas, arguments, facts to persuade-- whether this means no faith in the power of ideas/facts, or no faith in the cognitive capacity of those to be persuaded (e.g: Americans are so stupid, after all they voted for Bush, so the only way to persuade them-- manipulate them--is to lie to them)."

I think that both are correct, and part of that is their physical, mental, and/or emotional age.

First, most of the ideas on the left are unsupportable by logic. They don't, can't, and won't ever work. They are invariably the result of a triumph of either wishful thinking or cynicism over reality. (From my theory that the left is primarily filled with dupes and users, i.e. those using the dupes for their personal gain).

And, thus, they are left with emotion, and that is probably why we see so much of this type of "argument" from the left. Remember the quote misattributed to Churchill: "If you're not a liberal when you're 25, you have no heart. If you're not a conservative by the time you're 35, you have no brain."

Bruce Hayden said...

Conservatives seem unable (unwilling?) to understand most lefties take politics very seriously. They're not interested in "debate" or being "nice" or "being a Good Christian" or heaven help us "being a Gentlemen" - they want to win. "Just Win Baby" is their motto.

Two parts to this. First, my point before, that there are primarily two types of liberals: dupes and users, with the users using the dupes and the power they derive from them for personal gain. And, as a result, winning is everything for them, because winning means personal gain.

Secondly, it isn't really taking politics seriously as what is right and wrong, but, as you said, winning. Right and wrong have nothing to do with it, and power has everything to do with it.

I think that the first time that I really recognized this was with the Clintons in the White House. They showed that they were willing to do anything conceivable to seize and retain power, and as a result, make themselves rich at everyone else's expense. This ran from the cattle futures, Madison S&L, White Water Land, Rose Law Firm billing, Vince Foster (and, no, I don't think they had him killed), pulling the FBI records of all those Republicans, IRS audits of political opponents, launching cruise missiles to delay impeachment, trashing all the women making sexual claims against Bill, through selling presidential pardons for cash and campaign contributions, and likely beyond. People still ask today whether either of them had any shame, and, of course, they never did. As you said, power is everything. Right and wrong have no real relevance to people like them, or, indeed, like the top echelon (possibly excluding our President) of the Democrats now in power in this country.

Beth said...

You [the left] cannot be compromised or negotiated with. You can only be surpressed.

Okay, who wants to tell me about "liberal facism" again? We're the enemy, Big Mike sez, and must be suppressed. I guess someone's going to argue that BM is a leftie sock puppet?

All that being said, I wouldn't come here if I didn't enjoy the sometimes vigorous, sometimes redundant, debating, as well as crossing the political lines to share things that we all, as people, have in common. Trooper, Seven Machos, Revenant, DBQ, Joan, and a host of others may make my head spin sometimes but I almost always am happy to spend a little time in their company.

Neither the leftwing brickthrowers and sabateurs, nor the rightwing clinic bombers and militia nuts drive the marketplace of ideas in this country. The rest of us can navigate the digital wild west without reacting to Chicken Littles like Breitbart.

TMink said...

For the doubters, go to a liberal website and post something in disagreement with liberal dogma. See what you get in return.

I was careful with my words, and the first to "disagree" purposely distorted them.

The prosecution rests.


yashu said...

Bruce Hayden,

Interesting & agree with much. Re your theory about "users" & "dupes" on the left (or among Democrats)-- I've recently been puzzling over that distinction. Namely: to what extent does the political con artist himself believe the con (to what extent is the user himself a dupe)? And to what extent are the conned aware of being conned, willingly conned, in order to maintain (& enforce) the con-- and con others? (This is a fascinating anthropological & psychological question, apart from its application here. Cf. Levi-Strauss's analysis in "The Sorcerer & his Magic"-- on the shaman who performs what is at once a hoax (sleight of hand) & an efficacious magic ritual. Or the psychology involved in any totalitarian system. Etc.)

There are so many cases on the left in which the either/or alternatives (EITHER the con artist knowingly cons, knowing it's just a con OR he actually in some way believes his own con; EITHER the dupe is unaware of being conned OR is aware of the con & is willing to be used) both seem... incredible. What brought this to mind is recent examples of that perennial left-wing dynamic-- call it "projection" or the game of "I know you are but what am I." Cases in which, sometimes in the very same sentence, one and the same stroke, the speaker does precisely what he's accusing his opponent of... in & by the very speech-act of accusation itself. Cases so ridiculously obvious, so flagrant, that I can't believe the speaker is unknowingly "projecting"; he *must* be aware of what he's doing (performing a sleight of hand)-- as aware as the brat going "I know you are but what am I". But then, on the other hand, the depth of cynicism & shamelessness one would have to posit seems hard to swallow. (Though I'm getting used to it.) The same goes for the "dupes": on the one hand, it's hard to believe they're swallowing whole (& regurgitating) something so transparently cynical-- they must see the talking-point for what it is, a con. On the other hand, the universality of consensus among them makes it hard to believe they fully realize they're "being played"-- and thereby "playing others".

Here's an example that really struck me, so much so that I saved it-- via The Corner, a Democratic fundraising email from James Carville. Perhaps a trivial example, but an apt one. Because it's not a message to the public at large (e.g. on an MSM TV show), not preaching to an audience of converted & unconverted, faithful & heathen, Dems/ Reps/ Indies alike, but rather a message from an administration/party spokesman directly & exclusively to its core supporters, the flock of the faithful, it's a perfect sample of communication between (to use your schema) "user" & "dupes."

It starts,

"Dear Kathryn,

You won't even believe this.

The Republicans have called on none other than Sarah Palin to headline their big fat-cat fundraising dinner. You know they're going to use every last dime they raise to try to slam the brakes on President Obama's change agenda.

You know what I say? Thanks, but no thanks – how about you get back on that bridge to nowhere, Sarah.

We've got to beat her and the rest of those "no, baby, no" Republicans standing in President Obama's way by winning this FEC fundraising battle on March 31st. It's the only one in President Obama's first 100 days. It'll show everybody that America stands behind President Obama and Democrats fighting for change – not Sarah Palin and the "just say no" Republicans."'

[yashu again.] This is accompanied by a picture of Sarah Palin under the rubric "She's Back!". (Cue the Jaws theme music.) Note: the only picture here, the icon we're to press to "contribute now", is not of Obama, but of Palin. This is a perfect example of what's been described above as the ad hominem, personalizing rhetorical tactics of the left. The *lead* here, the #1 topic, what's in the spotlight, has nothing to do with Obama's or the Dem's agenda (NB nothing at all characterizes "Obama's agenda" other than the usual emptiness of: "change"), there's no content here other than-- pointing at a demonized icon of the opposition (recently Limbaugh, here Palin) and summoning contempt/ ridicule/ hate. Basically: give us money, because we despise Palin & Republicans as much as you do. (I trust I don't have to say anything about the laughable, ridiculous, egregious hypocrisy of a Democrat sanctimoniously denouncing "Republicans' big fat-cat fundraising dinner.") So far, so expected. But it's what follows that stopped me in my tracks:

"Republicans are trying to change the subject by going on the attack. First, it was the daddy of all Republicans, Rush Limbaugh, riling up the GOP base by rooting for President Obama to fail. Then it was RNC Chair Michael Steele transferring $1 million to bolster the House Republicans' campaign war chest. One Republican even fessed up that his party's goal in Congress isn't getting anything done – it's tearing down approval numbers for Democrats.

They're coming for a fight. Let's give them one."

[yashu again] "Republicans are trying to change the subject by going on the attack." A gobsmacking sentence. Especially coupled with the next-- knowing as we do (as they admitted themselves!) that Project Attack Rush was a calculated, Administration-&-MSM orchestrated propaganda tactic, a diversionary maneuver, distracting us from... what? Nothing significant going on then as part of "Obama's change agenda"? But no-- it's Rush Limbaugh & the Republicans who "changed the subject." What was the original subject, pray tell? Obama's change agenda? But isn't that *precisely* Rush's topic? You could repeat this sentence, alternately stressing every part of speech in it, and bring out each time a different shade of its Audacity. "I know you are but what am I."

OK, seriously. Carville *must* know he's pulling a con here, must be aware that what he's saying here is transparently cynical BS. And indeed: the "Rush theme" was a plotted tactic they admitted to, publically, themselves. (So confident is he of the MSM's collusion! Amazing.) And again, I must be naive, because the mendaciousness & cynicism on display here seems downright *sociopathic*. Kinda like that Moby quote above-- except in this case Carville seems to be conning & insulting the intelligence not of conservatives, but his own-- his own party's dupes. But what about those dupes? Are the MSM personalities who pushed the meme (e.g. George Stephanopoulos) "users" or "dupes"? What about the lefties, liberals, and Democrats who accepted & disseminated this meme, on & offline? Obviously there's a sliding scale here. I'm trying not to ascribe bad faith to every liberal who spouts one of these talking points. But it's hard. Anyway... I know I probably have a big old blind spot, I freely admit to my bias, but honestly & sincerely... I have never encountered anything like this coming from the right (of course they're not without fault, but their faults are quite different). If nothing else, there's an external reason for the asymmetry here: this kind of tactic requires the collusion of the MSM.

yashu said...

[Sorry for the logorrhea above! I figure since it's the end of a thread from yesterday, hardly anyone will read it & I'm not stopping a conversation in its tracks. Also, I have insomnia.]

Aaaand, right on cue-- after drafting the above comment, I come across this (a wonderful coincidence): Dem Strategists: Sarah Palin Is The New Rush Limbaugh

"Is the Rush Limbaugh strategy giving way to the Sarah Palin strategy?

Multiple Democratic strategists say the party plans to increasingly elevate Palin in the same manner it has employed Rush for weeks, using her high-visibility, her social conservatism, and memories of her harsh attacks on Obama during the campaign to tar the GOP as partisan, obstructionist, and backward-looking.

James Carville, a key architect of the Limbaugh strategy, says Dems will be seeking to elevate Palin more and more, because she’s “an identifiable person who has a hook,” unlike GOP leaders like Eric Cantor and Mitch McConnell.

“Her name conjures up all kinds of reactions in people’s minds,” Carville told me, adding that her association with the campaign will be used to portray the GOP as hidebound and to alienate moderates. “She’s an uncomfortable figure for a lot of Republicans,” Carville says. “They want to move beyond her. We like her.”

“Luckily, she seems to present us with an opportunity every few days,” added a senior Dem strategist. “You could say it’s a turkey shoot.”

But remember, in the words of James Carville: Republicans are trying to change the subject by going on the attack.

Nichevo said...

Eventually the shooting will start and we'll all feel better.

Big Mike said...

@Beth, as long as your mind is shut tight -- and from preceding comments you've posted w.r.t. Jindal, it certainly seems that your perspective can be summed up as "Republicans b-a-a-a-d, Democrats g-o-o-o-o-d, Republicans b-a-a-a-d" -- then who else would you be if not the enemy? You have no interest in addressing society's problems; your only interest seems to be throwing stones at Bobby Jindal. I guess you liked your state under Blanco?

If you want to talk problems and solutions, then let's talk. If you want to spew venow, then get set to receive contempt.

Big Mike said...

Bruce and yashu, excellent posts. Of course it's not just people who are targets. The left can be counted on to wave the bloody coat hanger for any reason or none at all.

yashu said...

Big Mike, thanks. But re Beth: she may appear (from our perspective) closed-minded-- or more neutrally, may just see things differently; I disagree with her politically 95% of the time. But she relates to conservatives & Republicans (at least those on this blog) as human beings and individuals (not strawmen & bogeymen); as far as I can tell, she's very rarely venomous; and although I find many of her political views mistaken and misguided (in my biased opinion), I believe she expresses them & argues in good faith (not a la Carville, & others on this blog). In my book, that makes her a thoroughly good egg-- and I wish more liberals were like her (in those respects).

Big Mike said...

@yashu, I'd like to think you're right, but I've tried to engage Beth before and it didn't take. Then again, I'm not exactly neutral myself.

I don't get Beth's strongly negative views on Jindal. He handled Gustav very well -- a big contrast with Blanco, Nagin, and Katrina. He's 100% pro-life, but neither he nor anyone else is going to overturn Roe v. Wade, no matter how many bloody coat hangers get waved whenever his (or Palin's) name comes up. In that respect Jindal is not nearly as extreme as the current POTUS, who advocates killing (okay, "allowing to die") babies born alive as the result of a botched abortion.